At the top of most house hunters' wishlist is an open concept floor plan and at the centre, the great room. This layout combines the living room, kitchen, dining area--the most frequently-used spaces in our homes. It encourages families to gather together, whether preparing food, eating a meal, watching television, doing homework or relaxing.
The room is just the first part, though. To create a truly great room where people want to spend time, you need to furnish and decorate it. This great room, decorated in a refined country style, shows how to create a casual and comfortable spot with space for everyone.
In a room that mixes living, dining and kitchen spaces, the decor is also a mix--and a masterful one. The overall feel is country, but with an elegant touch.
Rustic elements, like the vertical shiplap walls, wood countertops and open shelving, contrast with traditional features, like crown moulding, a ceiling medallion and upholstered furnishings. In the eating area, lush floor to ceiling drapes are layered over soft sheers. Above the sink striped blinds are a practical and attractive choice. Taken together the mix of fabrics and styles in the window treatments add softness and elegance to the space.
The designers selected different flooring materials to divide the kitchen and eating area from the living area. Wood floors stained a light, natural colour ground the sitting room, while tile is a durable choice for the kitchen. Rather than choosing just one tile, the designers employed four different patterns to create a custom
rug around the island. The blue and yellow tones of the tile are repeated accents throughout the space.
Throughout the great room, the designers layered in architectural features, decorative elements and furniture. Exposing the underside of the staircase is an untraditional choice, but it creates major visual interest within the space. As well, opening the stairs to the rest of room makes both the great room and the staircase each feel larger.
In the corner opposite the stairs, a fireplace is a cozy feature--and one that is essential in a farmhouse. The TV is positioned so that it can be enjoyed from both the couch as well as the rest of the room. Overhead, a coffered panel in the ceiling is a decorative treatment seen in traditional homes, not rustic farmhouses. In this great room, it is a subtle divider between the eating and sitting areas and also increases the elegance of the house.
All of these features could compete with each other, making the room feel busy or crowded. However, an overall neutral colour palette and contrast with between country and traditional styles ensures that everything works together to create a space that is both interesting and inviting.
Lighting has a powerful influence on how we feel in a room. Bright lights can inspire productivity and energy while soft lighting can encourage relaxing. In this farmhouse, the designers extended their layered approach to decorating to the lighting as well.
Over the sink, task lighting can be directed exactly where needed. The same spotlight fixture hung over the open shelving highlights the items on display. A trio of rustic lanterns above the island offers ample lighting for everything from homework to baking. And in the eating area, a beautiful chandelier casts an elegant light over diners.
Moving into the sitting area, a pair of lamps on the sofa table provide a soft glow. Another chandelier hangs in the centre of the sitting area offering more light for family game nights. And in the coffered ceiling, three spotlights deliver additional illumination when needed.
No matter the style, all of the lights share the same weathered brass finish, ensuring a consistent feel throughout the room.
Layering was also employed in the wall treatments. Floral wallpaper lends a decidedly country feel to the space. The wallpaper reinforces the blue and yellow accent colours seen elsewhere in the room. Rather than wallpapering one whole section, the designers instead elected to paper just parts of the walls. There are two panels, one in the eating area and the other in the sitting area, and then a third on the wall of the staircase.
Judicious use of the paper highlights particular features, like the stairs and china cabinet, and also prevent the room from being overwhelmed by the large-scale floral pattern.
Behind the TV, white-painted bricks are a rustic feature that emphasizes we are in a country farmhouse. Neutral plaster around the fireplace, white shiplap in the kitchen and blue paint between the wallpaper panels add texture, colour and contrast to the room.
Through thoughtful choices throughout this space, the designers have create a layered mix that is inviting, cozy, comfortable--and a room that is truly great.